Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review ~ Holding by Graham Norton (Audio)


A bit about the book..

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke - a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

My thoughts..

When offered the opportunity to listen to Graham Norton's debut novel, Holding which is narrated by the man himself, well, as a huge fan, I couldn't resist spending 7 or so hours in his congenial company.

The small Irish town of town of Duneen is, on the surface, rather a gentle place, and for the local police officer , PJ Collins,  the only excitement is perhaps where his next bite of breakfast is going to be coming from. However, as with all small towns what you see on the surface is not necessarily what you get, and when human bones are discovered on the edge of an old farm, well, the anticipation generated is beyond anything that PJ has ever experienced.

There is a very good mystery at the heart of the novel which is explored in sympathetic detail. And as the story progresses, and despite gentle hints of humour, there is genuine pathos and more than a hint towards a darker time in the town's history. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, particularly Brid and Evelyn, but I also had a whole bucket load of sympathy for the enigmatic Mrs Meany and longed to be sitting in the Garda House with PJ tucking into one of her sturdy Irish breakfasts.

What I loved about this story, and yes, I did love every word, was the subtle way the author teased the reader with sly innuendo and tantalising little snippets of gossip so that it became like sitting down in a cosy chair, with a plate piled high with scones and biscuits, and having a good old natter with your best friend.

Graham Norton narrates Holding with his inimitable charm and flair. It’s beautifully written, splendidly narrated and a real joy to listen to from start to finish and every minute of the 7 hours and 20 minutes of the audio file was, for me, time well spent. 

Without doubt, this is a commendable debut novel which I hope is the start of many more by this talented author.

Best read with....a hearty breakfast and maybe a glass or two of strong Irish stout but not necessarily at the same time..

About the Author

Graham Norton is one of the UK's best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of eight BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London. Holding is his first novel.

Twitter @grahnort

My thanks to for the opportunity to listen to Holding and also to Francesca at Midas PR for the invitation to review the book.


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